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Plot: This documentary follows two inner-city Chicago residents, Arthur Agee and William Gates, as they follow their dreams of becoming basketball superstars. Beginning at the start of their high school years, and ending almost 5 years later, as they start college, we watch the boys mature into men, still retaining their "Hoop Dreams". Both are recruited into the same elite high school as their idol, former Detroit Piston superstar Isaiah Thomas. Only one survives the first year; the other must return to a high school closer to his home. Along the way, there is much tragedy, some joy, a great wealth of information about inner city life, and the suspense of not knowing what will occur next. This is not a "by-the-numbers" film. Runtime: 170 mins Release Date: 31 Dec 1993
As Dick Vitale would say, "AWESOME, BABY!" (by snowboarderbo)
Ten years after I first saw this film, based on the mention that Siskel & Ebert made on their show, I am still blown away by it.A good case could be made for this being the best motion picture of all time. It is simply amazing. The characters if I can call them that in the film will astound you with their depth, and this movie will suck you right in... if not to the Cabrini Green projects, at least into the lives of these 2 young men and their families. You will cheer for them, feel their pain, their sadness, their triumphs... and their determination to achieve something better for <more>
themselves and their loved ones.I bought the DVD the day it was released, and can give high praise to the good folks at the Criterion Collection. The accompanying booklet contains 3 excellent essays/articles as well as a complete list of the people in the film. The extras on the DVD are well worth watching, escpecially the commentary from Arthur & William.To Frederick Marx, Peter Gilbert, and Steve James: Great job, guys. Your dedication to this project, and your understanding of the subject matter that it was about more than mere basketball, from the beginning have made a truly excellent film. Thank you.To Arthur Agee & William Gates: You are both exemplary men, and the example of your lives, your perseverance, your awareness of yourselves and the world you live in, should serve as role models for all of us, regardless of age, color, or income. You are both heroes of mine, and have been for more than 10 years.To the Agee & Gates families: Thank you for allowing these filmmakers access to your lives for so many years. I have wept at your hardships, and screamed joyously at your triumphs. Your dedication and love for each other is nothing short of inspirational.If you are reading this and you have not seen this film, PLEASE go get a copy and watch it. You will not have wasted a single minute of your life by having done so.A truly awesome film.
This gets my vote for the best movie of all time!! I know, it sounds crazy to say that about a documentary, but to me, this film has more drama, truth, realism & emotion than a thousand Hollywood movies put together. I've seen it over 30 times, and it never ceases to gladden my heart to see Arthur & William's story. The scene where Arthur's mom receives her diploma from nursing school has to be one of my all time favorites. For me, this is one of the rare three-hour movies that I never wanted to end. 10/10.
A true testament to the encroaching world of pro sports (by Agent10)
This film simply exemplifies the reason why I hate most Oscar voters. This movie didn't even get a nomination, and it was one of the most successful documentaries ever! This especially exhibits the encroachment of coaches, family and other parties when it comes to the well being of inner city kids, who just happen to be good basketball players. Considering the state of pro basketball now, this kind of shows how the downward cycle of basketball was seeking lower standards. Sometimes funny, often times sad and poignant, this film is easily one of the best documentaries of all time.
Documentary film-making at its best (by ill_behavior)
It runs for three hours but it feels much less, such is the power that this documentary holds. Absorbing, you get sucked in and the film has this grip on you.If Reality TV is your thing, I'd seriously give this film a go, then you can stop watching Reality TV and start to recognise, understand and prioritise real-world situations that actually matter, like racism, poverty, drug abuse, peer pressure and well, dreams.You'll fall in love with the characters, and there's even a bad-guy for us to boo. You can sometimes question the manipulative techniques on display, but the film is <more>
actually not as guilty as some, the makers have a genuine affection for their subjects and do as much as they can within the rules of documentary to help them out without compromising their objectivity.Be that as it may, this film should be compulsory viewing for many younger audiences, as it shows you exactly how real life differs from the garbage that passes for representation of youth on TV and in film today.I really can't say enough about the need for more films like this, the fact that the Academy Awards were changed because of the strength of this film goes some way to showing you exactly how powerful it is.
A superb supporting "cast" powers this excellent film (by 0rganism)
"Hoop Dreams" brilliantly follows multiple parallel stories, bringing the viewer into the lives of two families of inner-city kids looking for a chance at the "big time", their ticket out of the ghetto. Although the main focus is on William Gates and Arthur Agee, their "supporting cast" is equally enthralling. From William's jaded brother Curtis, sublimating his own basketball aspirations to the reality of his blue-collar mailroom job, to Arthur's indomitable mom Sheila, doing the impossible every day as she keeps her troubled family together, there are a <more>
thousand reasons to cheer, laugh, cry, and rage packed throughout this amazing, inspirational, cautionary documentary. By examining not only the players but also their families and environments, we are given a clearer view of their aspirations and motivations, what they plan to achieve and what they wish to avoid. I will not summarize or elaborate further. If you have not seen this movie, put it on the short list. 9/10.
Engrossing documentary about two inner city kids and their struggles to make it into professional basketball."Hoop Dreams" made a big splash when it was released in 1994, and there was a big controversy around Academy Award time when it was deemed ineligible in the Best Documentary category. It likely would have won had it been nominated, and it ranks right up there among some of the best documentaries of all time. This is mostly due to how engrossing the storytelling is. You forget you're not watching a fictional film, which just supports the claim that truth can be more <more>
compelling than fiction.You don't have to be a fan of basketball to enjoy this movie.Grade: A
Objective and Quiet, but Powerful Statement to Represent Disadvantaged Youth in Urban America (by jazzest)
"Basketball is a ticket out of ghetto." William Gates "... nobody cares about you. You're a black, you're a young male... The only reason why you're here [Nike training camp] is so you can make their team win. And if the team wins these schools get a lot of money." Spike Lee These phrases, which have persisted as common knowledge among the African-American community during last several decades, have become familiar to the non-hyphenated Americans in the 90s, thanks to the films such as Boyz N the Hood and He Got Game. Among them, Hoop Dreams, a documentary <more>
that follows two black youths during a five-year period, is the most objective and the most quiet, but the most powerful statement to represent the disadvantaged youth in urban America.The film reveals the pattern they follow. Being deluded by the luxurious surface of pro sports, they neglect education and then ending up going nowhere. The community suffers the vicious cycle and their feelings that the system exploits them remain.Kudos to the filmmakers for their insane amount of work. They must have gone through numerous negotiations to attend and film various scenes, such as family's private events, classrooms, academic counseling, recruiting sessions with college coaches, and surgery operation rooms.
One Of The Better Documentaries You'll Ever See (by ccthemovieman-1)
At three hours, this is a long but interesting documentary about two Chicago-area high school basketball stars, William Gates and Arthur Agee, who try to make something from their basketball talents. Both athletes, of course, dream of becoming pro players some day. There are hundreds of similar tales each season - of great players, mostly black - who don't make it through college or even to college despite their enormous talents and one can get idea of some of the obstacles by watching these two guys.Gates is recruited by St. Joe's, a powerhouse Catholic School which claims Isaiah <more>
Thmas as it most famous cage alumnus. There, Gates plays for a typically gung-ho coach and has a lot of ups and downs, both on and off the court. However, he's a lot more mature than the other subject of the documentary: Agee.Agee also is recruited by the private school but can't pay the tuition and is kicked out in his sophomore year. He then returns to his neighborhood public school and eventually becomes a star.Gates graduates and goes on to Marquette while Agee attends a junior college. From that point, a summary at the end of the film brings you up-to-date on what happened to the kids.Thus, almost all of the three hours is devoted to these kids form junior high through high school. The families and friends of these athletes are interesting and the film really documents the different lifestyles between blacks and whites in the USA.It's a fascinating picture for people of any race. For non-blacks, it shows them a window into a whole different world. This film is obviously not just to highlight basketball players but to show life as it exists with a lot of poor black families: the good and the bad, the achievements and the big mistakes. I enjoyed it just as much the second time as the first. It's one of the better documentaries I've ever seen, so don't let the length of it discourage you.
One of the greatest sports movies ever and not even nominated for a single Oscar with the exception of Film Editing, big deal . Just a great documentary feature made in 1994. Directed by Steve James and edited by Frederick Marx. One of the most underrated films of all-time.Tells the story of Arthur Agee and William Gates. Both are inner city teens who excel in basketball. It shows the struggles of their families to keep them in private schools that are expensive while keeping them conscious of their academics. They also are trying to get basketball scholarships to college. It is an accurate <more>
depiction of the exploitative world of college basketball recruiting.